Category Archives: Reviews

Good Eats, Great Sleeps & Awesome Adventures

We are often asked for recommendations for places to eat, sleep, rent a vehicle or go on excursions.

Nicaragua is a diverse country with too many great businesses to be able to highlight all of them, so we’ve created a page that lists a few of our favorites. The businesses we’ve listed are all owned by our friends – who are excellent at what they do. We support them whole heartedly and are excited to share them with you.

Good Eats, Great Sleeps and Awesome Adventures in Nicaragua await you!

Good Eats, Great Sleeps and Awesome Adventures

– An awesome day of sailing on Nica Sail n Surf’s catamaran “Must B Crazy”

Nacho Libre: A Gourmet Burger Joint

I think you’d be hard pressed to find a better burger in San Juan del Sur than what you’ll get at Nacho Libre.  These guys are doing it up right!

San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

With nine different burgers on the menu to choose from there is something for everyone.

Priced at $9 Smelly, But Nice comes with blue cheese, caramelized onions, spicy mustard greens, balsamic reduction and grey poupon and is the most expensive burger on the menu.

If you’re prefer something more simple you might want to try the Missionary burger. It’s topped with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and Kosher dill pickles and rings in at just $5. 

For the non-meat eaters Nacho Libre serves a $6 burger they call Yoga Ass. This gourmet vegetarian burger comes with a cous cous veggie patty, mozzarella, caramelized onions, avocado and salsa verde. 

I chose #4 – In n’ Out Animal. American cheese, caramelized onions, Kosher dill pickles and Thousand Island remoulade. Need I say more?

Gord’s pick? #5 – The Big Wang. Charred jalapeños, bacon, extra sharp cheddar cheese, avocado and salsa verde make up this burger.  

Nacho Libre:  San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

– The Big Wang

All burgers are served on Corn Island Coconut bread that is made fresh daily. If you’re concerned about carbs you can have your burger served on a bed of locally sourced organic greens. All burgers come with your choice of hand-cut, house seasoned fries or organic mixed greens.  

As we devoured our tasty burgers, delicious crispy seasoned fries and Frosty Tonas we felt like we were in a trendy burger joint in a large city somewhere.

Nacho Libre reminded me of the type of place that is featured on the show Diners, Drive-In and Dives.

From the mouthwatering juicy burger, to the presentation, to the frosty Tona, to the friendly service with a smile I loved everything about this place. 

If you’re in San Juan del Sur (and love burgers) lunch at Nacho Libre is a must!  

Already a regular at Nacho Libre? We’d love to hear what burger is your favorite. Leave a reply in the comment section below.

A Road Trip to Esteli

Approximately 2.5 hours after leaving Leon, making only one wrong turn along the way,  we arrived in the town of Esteli and easily found the central park. Finding a place to lay our heads for the night warranted a bit more effort, but we eventually stumbled across a decent B&B called Hostal Santa Maria. 

For a rate of $15 per night we were quite happy with our little room with “private bathroom”.

Our cuarto was super clean (much cleaner than my feet) and had a comfy bed with good pillows. I was quite excited about snuggling up under the thick comforter that night, much more so than I was about Gord going number two behind the green and yellow shower curtain.

It wasn’t until we registered and handed over our money to pay for our room did we realize that the nightly rate was actually $15 per person, not $15 per night. Not nearly the great deal we originally thought it to be, but we decided to spending the night just the same.

Later that afternoon we took some time to wander around and explore the streets of Esteli. The town was busy and bustling, but not nearly as fast paced as Leon.  The cooler temperatures we felt were a welcomed change from the extreme heat we’ve been experiencing in Leon. 

This being my first visit to Esteli with the afternoon light just right and a fully charged battery in my camera I was anxious to find some new and interesting subjects and objects to photograph.  

Here’s a sampling of what I saw:

A Potential Place to Live

Iglesia de San Francisco

Cowboys

A Colorful Baby Bird

Wall Murals

The city of Esteli may not be a photographer’s dream compared to the colonial cities of Leon and Granada, but as you can see I had no trouble finding the interesting subjects and objects I was looking for.

The majority of day two of our Esteli trip was spent exploring Somoto Canyon.  To read about our experience click here.

We decided to spend night two at Hotel Cualitlan.  We rented one of their cabins at a nightly rate of $40 USD.  A full breakfast was included. 

Although there wasn’t really anything extra special about Hotel Cualitlan our cabin was clean, quiet and comfortable and we had a good night’s sleep.

With all the exercise we got from exploring Somoto Canyon we had worked up an appetite. Ranked #2 on Trip Advisor we opted to try Pullaso’s Ole steakhouse.  My chicken, beef, shrimp and chorizo sausage kebob was cooked very well.  The meat was tender, juicy and very tasty.  Gord’s flank steak was perfectly grilled to medium rare as requested.

Before making our way back to Leon on Sunday we took a drive up the hill through Tisey Nature Reserve. As you can see the view was pretty awesome! If you look closely at the photo (top right) you can actually see a Volcan Telica.

We really enjoyed our 1st road trip in the Galloper and are looking forward to wherever our road trip travels take us next!

Apoyo Lodge & Camp: Laguna de Apoyo, Nicaragua

To celebrate my 37th birthday Gord and I decided to take a vacation from our vacation.  We packed our bags, hopped on the micro bus and made our way to Laguna de Apoyo.  

Rated #1 on Trip Advisor for Specialty Lodging in the area we opted to stay at Apoyo Lodge & Camp.  As soon as we put our bags down and got settled into our room I knew we made the right choice for accommodations.  Our room was spacious, airy and super clean.  

Sleeping with the windows and doors open all night was the best!  We had our own private balcony that overlooked the laguna.  

We unpacked our things and freshened up a bit before I helped myself to a cold Tona from the fridge and took a seat in one of the hammock chairs. 

Apoyo Lodge’s refreshment station works on an honor system.  Basically you help yourself to whatever beverage you want and then mark it down on your tab.  Whether you’re in the mood for a mojito or champagne they have it all!  Non-alcoholic drinks are also available.

Although we brought some of our own food we opted to have Sasha cook lunch for us. After all, we were on vacation!  The Cabbage Ginger Wraps with Peanut Sauce were slightly spicy, a bit crunchy and extremely tasty!  The Almond Cranberry Feta Salad that came with our wraps offered the ever so good sweet and bitter combo.  This healthy, vegetarian lunch was a welcomed change from the typical Nicaraguan food we’ve been eating for the last two months.  Before we were even finished our meal we knew we wouldn’t be doing any of our own cooking for the remainder of our stay because it would be better left to the professionals.

In the morning we woke up to the sound of the howler monkeys and tropical birds and the best continental breakfast ever.  All you can eat fresh fruit, whole grain toast and coffee, good coffee that is, was included in our nightly room rate. The display you see below was prepared by Shamus.

In addition to the the clean, clear refreshing waters of the laguna amenities at Apoyo Lodge include a floating dock…

…a Hookah Lounge and…

…a private rancho with kitchen for guests to use.  

Apoyo Lodge also has a BBQ, a skate park, inner tubes, paddle boards, a paddle boat and a sailboat and hammocks for guests to use.

The moment we arrived at Apoyo Lodge we felt comfortable and at ease with our hosts Shamus & Sasha.  Over the course of the weekend we enjoyed great conversation and shared lots of laughs. We look forward to hanging out with this fellow Canadian couple again later this month when they’ll be in our neck of the woods. In addition to Shamus & Sasha’s company we also enjoyed the time we spent with Apoyo Lodge’s furry friends Do, Kongo and Maude.

My birthday weekend at Apoyo Lodge was an all-around awesome one.  We can’t wait to go back!  

To view more photos of our weekend at Apoyo Lodge and Laguna de Apoyo click here.

Tsunami Taco Bar

After walking 3.5 km in the mid-day heat to Las Penitas and enjoying a couple of cold Tonas Gord and I had worked up an appetite and decided to grab some lunch.  We agreed that tacos would be much better than the burgers and fries everyone was ordering at Playa Roca.  We paid for our beer and sauntered across the road to Tsunami Taco Bar.

A Great Place for Lunch

Tsunami Taco Bar doesn’t have a set menu.  There are new offerings posted on the chalkboard every day.  Today we had our choice of chicken, chill con carne or vegetarian tacos.  Gord opted for the chili while I went with the chicken.

 

As I bit into my taco my taste buds were awakened with the sweet surprise of donair sauce. A totally unexpected, but welcomed taste! The fresh-squeezed lemonade was cold and refreshing.

Delicious!

For dessert we enjoyed fresh-out-of-the oven pecan banana bread smeared with butter.  It was warm, dense and delicious!

Heavenly Goodness

Fresh out of the Oven

Total price for our lunch (including drinks and dessert) rang it at 205 cord or $8.99 USD.   Based on food quality, flavour and price we give Tsunami Taco Bar 5 stars out of 5!

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